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History of Richard II

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Act IV, Scene 1

Westminster Hall.


[Enter, as to the Parliament, HENRY BOLINGBROKE,] [p]DUKE OF AUMERLE, NORTHUMBERLAND, HENRY PERCY, LORD [p]FITZWATER, DUKE OF SURREY, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, [p]the Abbot Of Westminster, and another Lord, Herald, [p]Officers, and BAGOT]

  • Henry IV. Call forth Bagot.
    Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind;
    What thou dost know of noble Gloucester's death,
    Who wrought it with the king, and who perform'd 1985
    The bloody office of his timeless end.
  • Bagot. Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.
  • Henry IV. Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.
  • Bagot. My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue
    Scorns to unsay what once it hath deliver'd. 1990
    In that dead time when Gloucester's death was plotted,
    I heard you say, 'Is not my arm of length,
    That reacheth from the restful English court
    As far as Calais, to mine uncle's head?'
    Amongst much other talk, that very time, 1995
    I heard you say that you had rather refuse
    The offer of an hundred thousand crowns
    Than Bolingbroke's return to England;
    Adding withal how blest this land would be
    In this your cousin's death. 2000
  • Duke of Aumerle. Princes and noble lords,
    What answer shall I make to this base man?
    Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars,
    On equal terms to give him chastisement?
    Either I must, or have mine honour soil'd 2005
    With the attainder of his slanderous lips.
    There is my gage, the manual seal of death,
    That marks thee out for hell: I say, thou liest,
    And will maintain what thou hast said is false
    In thy heart-blood, though being all too base 2010
    To stain the temper of my knightly sword.
  • Henry IV. Bagot, forbear; thou shalt not take it up.
  • Duke of Aumerle. Excepting one, I would he were the best
    In all this presence that hath moved me so.
  • Lord Fitzwater. If that thy valour stand on sympathy, 2015
    There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine:
    By that fair sun which shows me where thou stand'st,
    I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spakest it
    That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester's death.
    If thou deny'st it twenty times, thou liest; 2020
    And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,
    Where it was forged, with my rapier's point.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Aumerle, thou liest; his honour is as true
    In this appeal as thou art all unjust;
    And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,
    To prove it on thee to the extremest point
    Of mortal breathing: seize it, if thou darest. 2030
  • Duke of Aumerle. An if I do not, may my hands rot off
    And never brandish more revengeful steel
    Over the glittering helmet of my foe!
  • Lord. I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle;
    And spur thee on with full as many lies 2035
    As may be holloa'd in thy treacherous ear
    From sun to sun: there is my honour's pawn;
    Engage it to the trial, if thou darest.
  • Duke of Aumerle. Who sets me else? by heaven, I'll throw at all:
    I have a thousand spirits in one breast, 2040
    To answer twenty thousand such as you.
  • Duke of Surrey. My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well
    The very time Aumerle and you did talk.
  • Lord Fitzwater. 'Tis very true: you were in presence then;
    And you can witness with me this is true. 2045
  • Duke of Surrey. Dishonourable boy!
    That lie shall lie so heavy on my sword,
    That it shall render vengeance and revenge 2050
    Till thou the lie-giver and that lie do lie
    In earth as quiet as thy father's skull:
    In proof whereof, there is my honour's pawn;
    Engage it to the trial, if thou darest.
  • Lord Fitzwater. How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse! 2055
    If I dare eat, or drink, or breathe, or live,
    I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness,
    And spit upon him, whilst I say he lies,
    And lies, and lies: there is my bond of faith,
    To tie thee to my strong correction. 2060
    As I intend to thrive in this new world,
    Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal:
    Besides, I heard the banish'd Norfolk say
    That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men
    To execute the noble duke at Calais. 2065
  • Duke of Aumerle. Some honest Christian trust me with a gage
    That Norfolk lies: here do I throw down this,
    If he may be repeal'd, to try his honour.
  • Henry IV. These differences shall all rest under gage
    Till Norfolk be repeal'd: repeal'd he shall be, 2070
    And, though mine enemy, restored again
    To all his lands and signories: when he's return'd,
    Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.
  • Bishop of Carlisle. That honourable day shall ne'er be seen.
    Many a time hath banish'd Norfolk fought 2075
    For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,
    Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross
    Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens:
    And toil'd with works of war, retired himself
    To Italy; and there at Venice gave 2080
    His body to that pleasant country's earth,
    And his pure soul unto his captain Christ,
    Under whose colours he had fought so long.
  • Henry IV. Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?
  • Henry IV. Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom
    Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,
    Your differences shall all rest under gage
    Till we assign you to your days of trial.

[Enter DUKE OF YORK, attended]

  • Edmund of Langley. Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee
    From plume-pluck'd Richard; who with willing soul
    Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields
    To the possession of thy royal hand:
    Ascend his throne, descending now from him; 2095
    And long live Henry, fourth of that name!
  • Henry IV. In God's name, I'll ascend the regal throne.
  • Bishop of Carlisle. Marry. God forbid!
    Worst in this royal presence may I speak,
    Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth. 2100
    Would God that any in this noble presence
    Were enough noble to be upright judge
    Of noble Richard! then true noblesse would
    Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
    What subject can give sentence on his king? 2105
    And who sits here that is not Richard's subject?
    Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear,
    Although apparent guilt be seen in them;
    And shall the figure of God's majesty,
    His captain, steward, deputy-elect, 2110
    Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
    Be judged by subject and inferior breath,
    And he himself not present? O, forfend it, God,
    That in a Christian climate souls refined
    Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed! 2115
    I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,
    Stirr'd up by God, thus boldly for his king:
    My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,
    Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford's king:
    And if you crown him, let me prophesy: 2120
    The blood of English shall manure the ground,
    And future ages groan for this foul act;
    Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
    And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
    Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound; 2125
    Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny
    Shall here inhabit, and this land be call'd
    The field of Golgotha and dead men's skulls.
    O, if you raise this house against this house,
    It will the woefullest division prove 2130
    That ever fell upon this cursed earth.
    Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
    Lest child, child's children, cry against you woe!
  • Earl of Northumberland. Well have you argued, sir; and, for your pains,
    Of capital treason we arrest you here. 2135
    My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge
    To keep him safely till his day of trial.
    May it please you, lords, to grant the commons' suit.
  • Henry IV. Fetch hither Richard, that in common view
    He may surrender; so we shall proceed 2140
    Without suspicion.


  • Henry IV. Lords, you that here are under our arrest,
    Procure your sureties for your days of answer. 2145
    Little are we beholding to your love,
    And little look'd for at your helping hands.
    [Re-enter DUKE OF YORK, with KING RICHARD II, and]
    Officers bearing the regalia]
  • King Richard II. Alack, why am I sent for to a king, 2150
    Before I have shook off the regal thoughts
    Wherewith I reign'd? I hardly yet have learn'd
    To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my limbs:
    Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me
    To this submission. Yet I well remember 2155
    The favours of these men: were they not mine?
    Did they not sometime cry, 'all hail!' to me?
    So Judas did to Christ: but he, in twelve,
    Found truth in all but one: I, in twelve thousand, none.
    God save the king! Will no man say amen? 2160
    Am I both priest and clerk? well then, amen.
    God save the king! although I be not he;
    And yet, amen, if heaven do think him me.
    To do what service am I sent for hither?
  • Edmund of Langley. To do that office of thine own good will 2165
    Which tired majesty did make thee offer,
    The resignation of thy state and crown
    To Henry Bolingbroke.
  • King Richard II. Give me the crown. Here, cousin, seize the crown;
    Here cousin: 2170
    On this side my hand, and on that side yours.
    Now is this golden crown like a deep well
    That owes two buckets, filling one another,
    The emptier ever dancing in the air,
    The other down, unseen and full of water: 2175
    That bucket down and full of tears am I,
    Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.
  • Henry IV. I thought you had been willing to resign.
  • King Richard II. My crown I am; but still my griefs are mine:
    You may my glories and my state depose, 2180
    But not my griefs; still am I king of those.
  • Henry IV. Part of your cares you give me with your crown.
  • King Richard II. Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.
    My care is loss of care, by old care done;
    Your care is gain of care, by new care won: 2185
    The cares I give I have, though given away;
    They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.
  • Henry IV. Are you contented to resign the crown?
  • King Richard II. Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be;
    Therefore no no, for I resign to thee. 2190
    Now mark me, how I will undo myself;
    I give this heavy weight from off my head
    And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
    The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
    With mine own tears I wash away my balm, 2195
    With mine own hands I give away my crown,
    With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
    With mine own breath release all duty's rites:
    All pomp and majesty I do forswear;
    My manors, rents, revenues I forego; 2200
    My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny:
    God pardon all oaths that are broke to me!
    God keep all vows unbroke that swear to thee!
    Make me, that nothing have, with nothing grieved,
    And thou with all pleased, that hast all achieved! 2205
    Long mayst thou live in Richard's seat to sit,
    And soon lie Richard in an earthly pit!
    God save King Harry, unking'd Richard says,
    And send him many years of sunshine days!
    What more remains? 2210
  • Earl of Northumberland. No more, but that you read
    These accusations and these grievous crimes
    Committed by your person and your followers
    Against the state and profit of this land;
    That, by confessing them, the souls of men 2215
    May deem that you are worthily deposed.
  • King Richard II. Must I do so? and must I ravel out
    My weaved-up folly? Gentle Northumberland,
    If thy offences were upon record,
    Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop 2220
    To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,
    There shouldst thou find one heinous article,
    Containing the deposing of a king
    And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,
    Mark'd with a blot, damn'd in the book of heaven: 2225
    Nay, all of you that stand and look upon,
    Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,
    Though some of you with Pilate wash your hands
    Showing an outward pity; yet you Pilates
    Have here deliver'd me to my sour cross, 2230
    And water cannot wash away your sin.
  • King Richard II. Mine eyes are full of tears, I cannot see:
    And yet salt water blinds them not so much
    But they can see a sort of traitors here. 2235
    Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,
    I find myself a traitor with the rest;
    For I have given here my soul's consent
    To undeck the pompous body of a king;
    Made glory base and sovereignty a slave, 2240
    Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant.
  • King Richard II. No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,
    Nor no man's lord; I have no name, no title,
    No, not that name was given me at the font, 2245
    But 'tis usurp'd: alack the heavy day,
    That I have worn so many winters out,
    And know not now what name to call myself!
    O that I were a mockery king of snow,
    Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke, 2250
    To melt myself away in water-drops!
    Good king, great king, and yet not greatly good,
    An if my word be sterling yet in England,
    Let it command a mirror hither straight,
    That it may show me what a face I have, 2255
    Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.
  • Henry IV. Go some of you and fetch a looking-glass.

[Exit an attendant]

  • Henry IV. Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.
  • King Richard II. They shall be satisfied: I'll read enough,
    When I do see the very book indeed
    Where all my sins are writ, and that's myself. 2265
    [Re-enter Attendant, with a glass]
    Give me the glass, and therein will I read.
    No deeper wrinkles yet? hath sorrow struck
    So many blows upon this face of mine,
    And made no deeper wounds? O flattering glass, 2270
    Like to my followers in prosperity,
    Thou dost beguile me! Was this face the face
    That every day under his household roof
    Did keep ten thousand men? was this the face
    That, like the sun, did make beholders wink? 2275
    Was this the face that faced so many follies,
    And was at last out-faced by Bolingbroke?
    A brittle glory shineth in this face:
    As brittle as the glory is the face;
    [Dashes the glass against the ground] 2280
    For there it is, crack'd in a hundred shivers.
    Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport,
    How soon my sorrow hath destroy'd my face.
  • Henry IV. The shadow of your sorrow hath destroy'd
    The shadow or your face. 2285
  • King Richard II. Say that again.
    The shadow of my sorrow! ha! let's see:
    'Tis very true, my grief lies all within;
    And these external manners of laments
    Are merely shadows to the unseen grief 2290
    That swells with silence in the tortured soul;
    There lies the substance: and I thank thee, king,
    For thy great bounty, that not only givest
    Me cause to wail but teachest me the way
    How to lament the cause. I'll beg one boon, 2295
    And then be gone and trouble you no more.
    Shall I obtain it?
  • King Richard II. 'Fair cousin'? I am greater than a king:
    For when I was a king, my flatterers 2300
    Were then but subjects; being now a subject,
    I have a king here to my flatterer.
    Being so great, I have no need to beg.
  • Henry IV. Go, some of you convey him to the Tower. 2310
  • King Richard II. O, good! convey? conveyers are you all,
    That rise thus nimbly by a true king's fall.

[Exeunt KING RICHARD II, some Lords, and a Guard]

  • Henry IV. On Wednesday next we solemnly set down
    Our coronation: lords, prepare yourselves. 2315
    [Exeunt all except the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, the Abbot]
    of Westminster, and DUKE OF AUMERLE]
  • Abbot. A woeful pageant have we here beheld.
  • Bishop of Carlisle. The woe's to come; the children yet unborn.
    Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn. 2320
  • Duke of Aumerle. You holy clergymen, is there no plot
    To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?
  • Abbot. My lord,
    Before I freely speak my mind herein,
    You shall not only take the sacrament 2325
    To bury mine intents, but also to effect
    Whatever I shall happen to devise.
    I see your brows are full of discontent,
    Your hearts of sorrow and your eyes of tears:
    Come home with me to supper; and I'll lay 2330
    A plot shall show us all a merry day.